Federal and provincial conservatives in Alberta have been estranged for decades, ever since the Reform Party went to war against the old Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. Reform won that battle and became today’s ruling national Conservative Party, but the Alberta divisions remained. Eventually they begat the province’s Wildrose Party, which was a virtual proxy for the federal Tories – until former Harper cabinet minister Jim Prentice won the provincial PC leadership. Then Ottawa switched sides, leaving Wildrose friendless and setting the stage for this week’s historic reuniting of Alberta conservatives. C2C editor Paul Bunner explains…
Foreign policy rarely figures prominently in Canadian federal election campaigns. Typically the ballot question is framed by domestic issues, fiscal and economic conditions, and the personalities of the party leaders. But a year out from the 2015 election, foreign policy issues are omnipresent in Canadian politics. From Islamist terrorism at home and abroad, to Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, to the Ebola outbreak in Africa, the world seems a dreadfully dark and dangerous place. As a result, write Michael Taube and Paul Bunner, a big question on voters’ minds next October may well be, which party and which leader can best keep our country safe?
When Franklin D. Roosevelt said in 1932 that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” he was trying to buck up America’s spirits during the depths of the Great Depression. It’s hard to imagine Prime Minister Stephen Harper saying anything quite like that in the context of today’s fears about terrorism, Russian aggression, and other national and international security threats. If anything, the PM seems to think we’re not fearful enough. But he, and all of us, should relax, writes Paul Robinson, because we’re actually living in a time of unprecedented peace, stability and security.
2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, which began in part because of persistent Russian meddling in the Balkans. The Soviet Empire that grew out of the Bolshevik Revolution was largely created by Russian meddling in the affairs of its eastern and central European neighbours before, during and after the Second World War. Today the Russians are meddling in Ukraine, among other countries. The point is, the core of Russian foreign policy never really changes. We should not be surprised or acquiescent. If we give Vladimir Putin an inch, he will take a mile. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been saying as much for years, write George Koch and John Weissenberger, and it’s time for tougher action by Canada and the other western powers to contain modern Russian aggression.
Artificial intelligence could bring about a totalitarian world state, largely by proscribing unpopular speech and eroding our ability to determine what is true. John Carpay and Michael Kennedy cast a gimlet eye at the suppression of contrarian ideas on campus and call for a cultural shift to remind Canadians why free speech matters.
Virtually unreported by Canada’s insular news media is that the pandemic is pushing millions in other countries to the brink of starvation. John C. Thompson points out that Canada is one of the few countries that can reliably generate food surpluses. To meet the post-Covid world’s steep challenges, Canada’s able farmers will need the support of policymakers.
The creation of the Office of Religious Freedom by Canada’s Conservative government in 2013 was widely panned as a symbolic gesture, aimed mainly at the ruling party’s theoconservative base. With a staff of five and budget of $5 million a year, what real impact could it have in a world awash in religious persecution and violence? That remains to be seen, although it already has projects underway in several countries. And in “God’s Century,” writes Robert Joustra, where theology is supplanting ideology as the primary fuel of political conflict, we should all be praying for the success of the OFR
In its early years the Harper Conservative government was committed to rebuilding the Canadian Forces after the Liberal “decade of darkness.” Then the Great Recession hit, the Afghanistan War ended, and defence procurement spending went dark, again. It’s unlikely to be revived in an election year, writes Jeffrey F. Collins, but it must and eventually will be, with a new emphasis on navy and air force hardware to meet the new challenges and priorities of global security in today’s post-“boots on the ground” environment.